Caesar Salad Ronit Penso

Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad Ronit PensoCaesar salad became an American classic salad almost one hundred years ago, though it was actually created in Tijuana Mexico by Caesar Cardini, an Italian-American restaurateur. The combination of fresh Romaine lettuce leaves with a dressing made of coddled egg, garlic, Worcester sauce, Parmesan cheese and olive oil, was original and fresh, and the salad became known world wide.

Originally, the salad was prepared table side, and so the dressing was mixed right before serving. Since most restaurants (or people serving the salad at home) don’t have the luxury of waiters who are able to prepare the salad at the table, very quickly more convenient ways of dressing the salad were created, most in the form of mayonnaise- style emulsified dressing.
Unfortunately, the most common Caesar dressings we know today are thick and heavy, and in too many cases, full of preservatives. When poured way too generously over less than fresh lettuce, and topped with stale croutons, it makes one wonder why the salad became so popular in the first place.
So it makes sense to prepare the salad at home from scratch, dressing included. This way we can fully enjoy this flavorful and fresh version, which will not make us feel like going to sleep soon after eating it…

The dressing I have here is lighter and thinner than those dressings I’ve mentioned. A small amount of it is enough to flavor the fresh leaves without overpowering their flavor.  Adding crisp, lightly toasted sourdough croutons, a few anchovy fillets and shaved Parmesan on top, creates a fresh, light and tasty salad, which is perfect for lunch or light dinner. Try it and enjoy.

Notes:
* The dressing is a light mayonnaise, based on coddled egg, which is an egg that is barely cooked. It is therefore important to make sure to use eggs from a reliable source, without any cracks.
* Using whole coddled egg for the dressing, including the egg white, contributes to the lighter texture of the dressing.
* There is a debate regarding the use of anchovies in the original recipe on top of the Worcester sauce, which contains them. As I personally like them a lot, I choose to use them regardless. If you’re not an anchovy fan, you can choose to use only Worcester sauce. In this case, increase the amount to 1 tsp.
* The addition of mustard is also not in the original recipes, but using it helps emulsify the dressing. It also enhances the flavors of the other ingredients in the dressing. I highly recommend not omitting it.
* The dressing can keep, in an airtight container in the fridge, for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before using.

Makes: 4-6
Prep time: 30 minutes
Ingredients:
For the salad:
3 cups sourdough bread cubes
2-3 heads very fresh romaine lettuce
For the dressing:
1 L egg, at room temperature
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1 tsp whole grain Dijon mustard
2 tsp salt
½ tsp Worcester sauce
5 anchovy fillets
Juice of 1 medium lemon
½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ cup safflower oil
½ cup light olive oil
For serving:
3-4 anchovy fillets, for each plate
Shaved Parmesan cheese

1. Lightly toast the bread cubes. Remove the outer leaves of the lettuce (you can use them in THIS soup) and separate the rest. Thoroughly wash the leaves and dry them in a salad spinner. Remove the core from the larger leaves and tear into large pieces. Leave the smaller leaves whole.
Caesar Salad Ronit PensoCaesar Salad Ronit Penso
2. The dressing: place the egg in a bowl. Cover with boiling water and let stand for 1 minute. Carefully remove from the water and wash under cold water. Carefully break the shell and empty the egg into a small food processor, fitted with the metal blade. Add the garlic, mustard, salt, Worcester sauce, anchovies and lemon juice. Process for 1 minute. Add the grated cheese and black pepper and process for 30 seconds. Add ¼ cup of the oil and process for 1 minute, until the mixture starts to emulsify. Add the rest of the oil, ¼ cup at a time, processing briefly after each addition. The dressing should look like a thinned mayonnaise. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
Caesar Salad Ronit PensoCaesar Salad Ronit Penso Caesar Salad Ronit PensoCaesar Salad Ronit Penso Caesar Salad Ronit PensoCaesar Salad Ronit Penso
3. Place the lettuce in a large bowl and add about third of the dressing, just to coat the leaves. Mix gently and divide between serving plates.
Caesar Salad Ronit PensoCaesar Salad Ronit Penso
Add anchovy fillets and scatter the croutons and shaved Parmesan on top. Serve immediately, with the rest of the dressing on the side.
Caesar Salad Ronit PensoCaesar Salad Ronit Penso Caesar Salad Ronit Penso

69 thoughts on “Caesar Salad

  1. judilyn says:

    DH is drooling on my keyboard. I have everything but the Worcestershire sauce on hand. I got a tin of anchovies for pizza, but they are still sitting on the counter, staring at me.

    Virtual hugs,

    Judie

    Liked by 2 people

  2. judilyn says:

    I had planned to make the pizza for tonight, so maybe this would be a good time to use up the anchovies, as any leftovers seem to stay around forever. The Caesar salad would go perfectly with the pizza. With your good suggestion of a substitute, I won’t have to trundle to the grocery store today!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pan says:

    I’ve always thought the egg was raw in the dressing.. This gives me cause to try this out.. Never has an anchovy passed these lips but guess this would be a good time to give them a try too.. Now I just need the time.. 😄

    Liked by 2 people

  4. cookingwithauntjuju.com says:

    Possibly my favorite salad which I have probably once a week. Thanks for a different version! I remember a time or two having this salad served table-side. Back then I even had one of those floor wooden salad bowls to serve it in, just like some restaurants use to do :)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Sandhya says:

    Ronit, I love Caesar salad but never knew its history. Loved reading about it. And yes, some restaurants serve the salad with such heavy thick dressing, so I end up asking for it on the side:(
    I am going to mak ethe ‘real Caesar salad at home using your recipe. Thanks for sharing the recipe and the tips too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tasty Eats Ronit Penso says:

      Thank you Sandhya. I’m glad you liked the post and recipe.
      It is a real shame that in too many restaurants the Caesar salad served is so far from the fresh and light salad it should be. I hope you’ll enjoy this. I’ll be happy to hear your comments. :)

      Like

  6. Nancy says:

    In my experience lately, a good Caesar salad is hard to find in restaurants. Thanks to you, I’ll be disappointed no more…I simply will save the experience for my own kitchen! I’ve never made a proper Caesar dressing before…I will now…thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. marymtf says:

    What’s a coddled egg? Is it an egg that’s spoiled rotten and given its way all the time? :) :) har, har, I’m laughing at my own joke. How sad is that? Just joking, Ronit. your salad sounds lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tasty Eats Ronit Penso says:

      lol I like the “spoiled rotten egg” idea! Maybe originally someone was literally coddling (or cuddling?) the egg and that’s how the term came to be. Who knows…
      But the dressing turns out really great using the coddled egg so that’s the important thing. :)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Sheryl says:

    It is fun to read the history of Caesar salad. The original dressing prepared table side sounds so elegant. Today the ubiquitous Caesar salad served in most homes and restaurants is the boring salad option for the unadventurous eater – It’s wonderful how your take on Caesar Salad returns it to its roots and makes it a fresh and exciting option.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dale says:

    Hi Ronit — great post and recipe. I have ‘coddled’ eggs in the past in a process I thought was just has called ‘pasteurizing’ so I’m delighted to learn the real name. Thank you.

    I tried the recipe last night with great success, so high-five. I did make my own adjustments for my taste but the biggest thing I changed was the amount of oil. I’m wondering if there is a typo in the recipe which lists 1 cup of oil (1/2 cup safflower + 1/2 cup olive). I used about 1/3 cup of sunflower which produced the right consistency and volume for the salad … and the right taste. I can’t imagine it tasting the same with 3 times as much oil.

    Great stuff again. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tasty Eats Ronit Penso says:

      Thank you Dale, I’m glad to hear you’ve found the information helpful.
      As for the amount of oil, I always make it with 1 cup oil and and find it works well for me, as I like the dressing fairly thin.
      I’m glad you used your judgment as for how much is suitable for you. As I always say – recipes are just suggestions and a base for us to experiment and prepare our own versions. :)

      Like

  10. ChgoJohn says:

    Hands down, this is my favorite salad, Ronit, and yours is a very good one. I have fond memories of my Dad preparing a Caesar salad for dinner guests when I was a young boy. He was a waiter early in his career and he never lost the skill — nor flair for the dramatic. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tasty Eats Ronit Penso says:

      Thank you John, I’m glad you liked my version. It is a shame that this fresh and tasty salad is not so in too many cases.
      How fun it must have been to have the real professional table-side service. No doubt it makes for great memories. :)

      Like

  11. apuginthekitchen says:

    I dislike those thick heavy dressings on Caesar salad, love how light yours is. It sounds delicious .. I have never coddled an egg but have to give this a try. I have never made a Caesar salad before. I think it’s high time I gave it a go.

    Liked by 1 person

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